Saturday morning, 7 am, and we’re on our way to the city center to board the express ferry, which takes us to Flåm, along the beautiful Sognefjord.
A comfy fjord cruise
The five hour boat trip is the first part of the «Sognefjord in a nutshell» tour we booked. 1610 NOK, quite an amount for an international student in Norway. Therefore our fellow travellers are mostly families and Asian tourists.
– My friends are all sleeping, says an international student from China.
Whether you want to spend the whole cruise inside and just snuggle into the comfy seats, or otherwise enjoy the fresh airflow outside, is up to you. And by fresh I really mean fresh, because even if Bergen is facing its first day with temperatures over 25 degrees celsius, it is freezing cold on deck.
As the sun rises more and more, we make our way through the picturesque fjord landscape. With clear blue sky, sunshine and a sea like a mirror, it seems like we have won some sort of first prize.
This trip is all about travelling, just enjoying the landscape. People sit together, have a chat, a few beers or the typical Norwegian waffle. They go out on deck from time to time to enjoy the sunshine and the wind.
– Look here, you have to see this!
When someone spots a very beautiful mountain range, a tiny lighthouse or a solitary island with that typical wooden house on top, suddenly all passengers run outside and the competition for the best photographer begins. Super professional high quality cameras, simple digital cameras, ipads and smartphones are allowed, and they compete in the disciplined selfie, portrait and landscape shot.
Not worth the hype
When we arrive in Flåm, the first thing we see are some kids swimming in the fjord beside an actual sand beach. It might resemble a Mediterranean atmosphere, were it not for the snowy glaciers on the horizon, closing in on the small village.
– I would love to go kayaking now, admits a student from Germany, who is already missing some action.
Besides the view, we would conclude that Flåm is not really worth a visit. A stroll through the center only takes five minutes, and it is hard to believe that there are actually people living here who don’t deal with tourism at all – there are souvenir shops everywhere.
As we had to wake up quite early, I am craving for a coffee. We are prepared for the regular super high Norwegian prices, so when we enter the local bakery, we are quite surprised: only 25 NOK for a coffee! They even have vegan bread and tasty, affordable cinnamon buns.
A nostalgic train ride
After a 45 minute break, we board the Flåm railway to go all the way to Myrdal. Within an hour the railway takes you from sea level up to 867 meter over normal null. National Geographic Traveller Magazine named this trip one of the ten best train journeys in Europe. And justly so.
The old train with its wooden panels and leather seats creates an atmosphere of travelling back in the days where the train was the only a means of transportation. We lean back and listen to the rattling sound of the wheels while enjoying the various nature of Norway, with passing waterfalls, courtyards and cliffs.
– The 20 tunnels along this route have all been built by hand, says a really informative, but annoying voice in Norwegian, English and German.
After passing the last one of the 20 tunnels we cannot believe our eyes: tons of radiant snow are awaiting us. We have arrived in the Norwegian high mountains.
What’s it worth?
In Myrdal we board a NSB train to go back to Bergen and after more than ten hours of travelling, we conclude that the trip has indeed been breathtaking and offered a perfect overview of the Norwegian nature. But it is not worth paying 1610 NOK for, at least for international students.